If Renault wants France’s state aid then it must stop relocating and developing its plants abroad rather than focusing on national ones.
These are the conditions that Emmanuel Macron she dictated to the car company in exchange for a 5 billion euro state-guaranteed loan to help her cope with the coronavirus crisis. “We obviously ask the companies that benefit from these loans to do their best for employment and activity in our territory, and this is the meaning of the discussions underway with Renault,” explained the Minister of Transport, Elisabeth Borne. For the executive exponent this means that Renault must, for example, “Stop the development of production capacities abroad, as has been done in recent years”.
The government’s request led by the premier Edouard Philippe however, it may not be easy for the company to respect as the group must also present a savings plan of two billion euros by the end of next week by the end of 2022 which, according to various French media, should result in the complete closure of three small production sites in France. On this point, Paris is resisting, but it will not completely oppose it. “We will certainly be attentive to every job, but we want to give Renault the opportunity to adapt its production structure,” said the Economy Minister, Bruno Le Maire, in an interview with Bfm TV, specifying that the group should “pay attention to certain choices”. In particular, the Flins plant, which has 2,600 employees and is one of the three at risk and where the brand’s electric cars and the Nissan Micra are assembled, “should not close, because for us there is no reason”.
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Focus on electric vehicles
“I cannot say” that there will be no job cuts at Renault, “it would not be reasonable”, added the minister explaining that among the options that are favored by the state, there is that of Renault’s relocation to France of production of electric vehicles and in this way the group “could make specific commitments” on this production “which creates value and therefore employment”. According to Le Maire, Renault should join the Franco-German alliance for electric batteries, which already includes the PSA, Total and Saft group. “If there is a commitment that Renault must take, for example, it is to be a shareholder of the alliance of electric batteries,” the minister pointed out. An increase in the state share in the car manufacturer, which is currently 15%, making Paris a relative majority shareholder, “is not on the agenda”.